January's trade statistics are out and imports dropped 22.8% while exports dropped 16.4%. So, a ring of good news, our trade deficit dropped. But the bad news: U.S. exports have dropped 44% on a yearly scale. From the BEA:
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total January exports of $124.9 billion and imports of $160.9 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $36.0 billion, down from $39.9 billion in December, revised. January exports were $7.6 billion less than December exports of $132.5 billion. January imports were $11.5 billion less than December imports of $172.4 billion.
In January, the goods deficit decreased $4.3 billion from December to $47.0 billion, and the services surplus decreased $0.4 billion to $10.9 billion. Exports of goods decreased $6.5 billion to $82.2 billion, and imports of goods decreased $10.9 billion to $129.2 billion. Exports of services decreased $1.1 billion to $42.7 billion, and imports of services decreased $0.6 billion to $31.8 billion.
In January, the goods and services deficit decreased $23.1 billion from January 2008. Exports were down $24.4 billion, or 16.4 percent, and imports were down $47.6 billion, or 22.8 percent.
Now consider how unbalanced U.S. trade policy is.
Bloomberg immediately uses that scary "P" word, Protectionist as some boogie man oh so frightening tactic. Remember, no policy anywhere has changed and these drops in global trade are the result. No "protectionist" anything (ignore the misuse and abuse of the term) have happened yet global trade has imploded.
U.S. imports and exports both slumped for a sixth straight month in January in what may be the biggest collapse of world trade since the 1930s, raising the threat of protectionist measures to shield domestic industries
While I believe the article may be referring to China, this is most amusing for China already has protectionist measures, including one beyond biased tariff schedule.
To note, the China trade deficit is up to $20.6 billion. The trade deficit with China is the largest trade deficit and the next country with which the United States has a trade deficit, Japan, is 4.8 times less than the trade deficit the United States has with China.